The Winter Blues and Black Spruce
An unexpected and unwanted guest might visit us in the fall or winter. The decrease of day light, the lack of sun, the cold, staying indoors, the tendency to be less physically active – and overeat sometimes, especially sweet – may bring on the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The main symptom of this disorder is fatigue that significantly increases in the fall and winter, and decreases in the spring and summer. Some scientific research suggests it may be caused by an overstimulation of the adrenal glands.
In the US Northern states or other parts of the World where daylight shrinks in the winter, and for several months, one of the treatments for this condition is light therapy, using a light lamp for example.
But there’s an aromatherapeutic solution that smells good, and applies to all weather and geographic situations: the Black Spruce (Picea mariana) essential oil (EO).
The essential oil of Picea mariana (scientific name for the Black Spruce) is rich in monoterpenes (tricyclene, ±-pinene, delta3-carene, camphene), and has proved to help restore balanced levels in depleted and overworked adrenal glands. It is also reported to be an analgesic which makes it an extraordinary aid for common respiratory conditions also not uncommon in the winter time.
Black spruce’s EO has a very pleasant earthy fragrance with green, resinous and balsamic notes. It blends well with other essential oils such as Pine, Rosemary, Cedarwood, Lavender.
A great and simple recipe is to apply diluted black spruce oil on the lower belly and lower back with a gentle massage (at kidney level where the adrenal glands are located) while in the shower – taking advantage of the warm steam which will help the oil penetrate deeper in the skin and sub-tissues, and therefore in the blood stream.
Black spruce oil blend
50 ml base vegetable oil*
20 drops of black spruce essential oil†
* Ayurvedic insight: Depending on your predominant dosha and/or the season of the year, you may use the following base oil:
Vata (fall-early winter) – Sesame oil
Kapha (late winter-spring) – Almond oil
Pitta (summer) – Coconut oil
† At the time I’m writing this posting, you can find Black Spruce Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil on Amazon at the sweet price of $7.75 instead of $16.50!
Additional information on SAD and how to treat the winter blues: